1

RECOGNISE

THE SIGNS AND

SYMPTOMS

2

REMOVE

THE PLAYER

FROM PLAY

3

REFER

THEM TO A DOCTOR

FOR ASSESSMENT

Concussion is a brain injury. It can occur in any sport, you don’t have to be knocked or even be hit on the head directly to be concussed.  Everyone can learn to recognise the signs and what to do.

This content is based on information provided from the Pocket Concussion Recognition tool ™

1

RECOGNISE

THE SIGNS AND

SYMPTOMS

Concussion should be suspected if one or more of the following visible clues, signs, symptoms or errors in memory questions are present. 


PHYSICAL SIGNS

What you see

  • Loss of consciousness or non-responsive 
  • Lying on the ground not moving or slow to get up
  • Loss of balance/co-ordination
  • Disorientation/confusion
  • Visible injury to face or head (especially in combination with any other signs)
  • Grabbing/clutching of head
  • Dazed, blank or vacant look

MEMORY

What they say

  • “What venue are we at today?”
  • “Which half/quarter is it now?”
  • “Who scored last in this game?”
  • “What team did you play last week/game?”
  • “Did your team win the last game?”

CLINICAL SYMPTOMS

What they feel

  • Blurry vision
  • Neck pain
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Sensitivity to light &/or noise
  • Tiredness
  • Problems with memory
  • Finding it hard to think or concentrate
  • More emotional
  • Irritability

RED FLAGS

What requires hospitalisation

  • Athlete complains of neck pain
  • Increasing confusion or irritability
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Seizure or convulsion 
  • Double vision
  • Weakness or tingling/burning in arms or legs
  • Deteriorating conscious state
  • Severe or increasing headache
  • Unusual behaviour change

2

REMOVE

THE PLAYER

FROM PLAY

Any athlete with a suspected concussion should be immediately removed from play, and should not be returned to activity until they are assessed medically. Athletes with a suspected concussion should not be left alone and should not drive a motor vehicle. 

TO HELP AN UNCONSCIOUS ATHLETE

  • Apply first aid principles:  
    Danger / Response / Send for help / Airway /  Breathing / Circulation
  • Treat as though they have a neck injury - do not move
  • They may only be moved by a medical professional trained in spinal immobilisation techniques
  • Do not remove helmet (if present) unless trained to do so
  • Call 111 if there is concern regarding the risk of structural head or neck injury

3

REFER

THEM TO A DOCTOR

FOR ASSESSMENT

Anyone with a suspected head injury needs to see and be assessed by a medical doctor. Only a qualified medical doctor can assess and diagnose a concussion. This is essential to confirm the diagnoses of concussion and to assess the risk for more serious injury.

It is useful to have a list of local medical doctors, concussion clinics and emergency departments close to where the sport/activity is being played.  A pre-activity checklist of the appropriate services could include:

  • Local doctors or medical centre.
  • Local hospital emergency department.
  • Ambulance services (111). 

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

Initial concussion management involves physical and mental rest until the acute symptoms resolve then a graduated programme of physical and mental activity, guided by a person trained in concussion management, prior to medical clearance and return to sport. 

REST

UNTIL SYMPTOM-FREE.

RECOVER

GRADUALLY BECOMING MORE ACTIVE

RETURN

WHEN CLEARED BY YOUR DOCTOR

Download or order ACC SportSmart concussion resources.